Since posting the arrival of the 2 sets of sextuplets last week I have received MANY e-mails expressing concerns and anger.
The e-mails come from parents who have singletons and multiples, grandparents and health care providers.
There are three issues that are weighing on most peoples minds – the future health of these babies, reducing the fetuses when the number of babies is revealed and the shameless promotion of them to receive financial support.
The media circus around the births of these megamultiples appears to be leaving out the fact that carrying this many babies is not natural or healthy. Just hours after delivering her 30 week sextuplets, last week, Jenny Masche almost died from heart problems due to the huge volume of blood she was carrying in her body while pregnant. When the babies were delivered, some the extra blood flooded out of her uterus and “stretched her heart and blood vessels to a very, very critical level.
An increased chance of gestational diabetes, risks for hypertension, stroke and preeclampsia are also some of the other issues that these multiple birth moms face.
It may seem exciting and unbelievable that so many babies were born at the same time, but it is not safe. Any baby born before 32 weeks runs the risk of having long term health problems. Carrying, triplets, quads or quints past 30 weeks is difficult guaranteeing that the babies will all need to be admitted to the NICU to grow further on arrival.
This, of course, brings up the issue of fetal reduction. I can see why both couples chose not to reduce the fetus’ growing inside their wombs. The procedure is similar to an abortion and needs to be performed between 9 and 11 weeks gestation. It would be hard for a parent who has been trying for many years to conceive to decide that they do not want to keep one or more of their ‘babies’.
You can, however, get caught up in the previous success stories of other multiple families which sometimes makes couples feel invincible. Not all pregnancies are the same, therefore you cannot expect to have the same outcome as other moms.
I truly believe that the Morrison babies were delivered and resuscitated because they were a high profile case. There are not many hospitals that would resuscitate a 22 week old baby, let alone 6. When I was 23 weeks 5 days pregnant and in labour, the OB told me that they were not going to save my baby if he was born that day. They strongly believed that any baby born before 24/25 weeks would have such extensive health issues that it is better to just not try and in this case they were wrong. My son was born at 24 weeks 1 day and is currently thriving like any 18 month old baby. That is not to say that he would have had the same outcome if forced to arrive 2 weeks prior to his birth date.
I don’t believe that these parents realize what they have signed up for. Your yearly trip to Mexico – will no longer happen. Personal time – gone. Co-ordinating nurses, therapists, pediatricians and specialists will become your full time job after you are done dealing with endless laundry, feedings and diaper changes.
The last issue is summed up by a GYB reader Anna
When I had my triplets there was no foundation set up to support our family and no registry posted on our website. We made due with what we had and got support from friends and family. What makes these families any different? Where do there get off thinking that the rest of us should support their family? My husband works 2 jobs because I have to stay home with our boys. We don’t have the luxuries that we used to have, but everyone is fed and happy. I think it is ridiculous for this family (Masche family) to suggest that the rest of us could contribute to their new truck or nursery. You made the decision to have six babies, it is your responsibility to support them! (the truck has been since removed from the site with the 3 registries still listed)
MANY readers feel the way that Anna does. Moms who have twins, triplets and single babies have been writing, echoing these same sentiments. They have had to support their families the old fashioned way – by working over time or 2 jobs. Now that the Morrison 6 is now just triplets. Should they still warrant the donations that were intended for 6 babies? Some people think no. After all, there were over 7,000 sets of triplets born in the U.S. last year.
Everyone has their reasons why they think that fertility drugs should be monitored more closely. Mine is that I think it is sad that women are having ‘litters’. We were not meant to deliver 5, 6, or 7 babies at a time. That’s why your chance of having ‘natural’ triplets is 1 in 8,100 (only about 30% of triplets are ‘natural’), ‘natural’ quads is 1 in 729,000 (only about 6% of quads are ‘natural’) and ‘natural’ quints is 1 in 55,000,000.
Now that the babies are here I hope that the population can set aside their animosity for how they got here and wish them the BEST. I suspect that these moms probably thought that having six babies would be better than not having any at all…
After the fanfare is over and the cameras have moved on to the next sensation, both moms will have a lot of work ahead of them to keep their multiples safe, fed and loved.
We wish them the best – let’s hope they’re up to the challenge.
Whatever medical assistance the parents required for their conception, all babies are “natural.”
We have been having a discussion about unethical behavior of the doctors in these cases at http://twinkies.bastetweb.com/2007/06/11/sextuplets-poor-art-care/ The fault, I believe, lies not with the parents who were desperate for children but with the doctors who exploited that desperation (Why did the RE cross the road? Because an infertile woman in her late 30s was on the other side.) and handed these couples very high risk pregnancies.
I am so sorry that mothers who did not receive exceptional support felt provoked by those who have. They are the ones who should be ashamed. I compare it to my children, whom I want to have so much more than I will, no matter what advantages I receive. Isn’t that what we should want for others, more than we ever had? Why should their circumstances be loathed and why should it be wrong to encourage support, even if financial, for anyone? I am glad they gave others the opportunity to give. I should say that I would have been much more encouraged in reading your article were those mothers who felt vexed at the thought of other mothers receiving an extra hand, found themselves thrilled! It should be the most ‘natural’ thing in the world to wish others well, even better than ourselves. Such is the nature of p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s.
An abortion is an abortion whether there are 6 babies in the womb or just one. Many women don’t believe in abortion and these women clearly didn’t believe they should have their babies killed because the pregnancy was high risk. Also, why would anyone be upset that these families are getting contributions to help them out with their SIX babies??? Anyone is welcome to ask for help when in financial need. And bless those who are willing to offer assistance. Referring to Anna’s comments, having triplets is WAY different than having sextuplets! She mentioned that her husband had to work 2 jobs to feed her family…if they had sextuplets, he would need 4 jobs! That is just not possible and these families clearly need donations to feed their family. A little humanity can go a long way…
If people have sextuplets they should pay for everything themselves. They should not be given a house, van, free baby food or free anything. Also, their health insurance should be canceled. There are people who have their health insurance canceled when they’re diagnosed with cancer… and the cost of cancer treatment is nothing compared to the cost of care for premature babies.
Some people should get over themselves I agree with Janique “Isn’t that what we should want for others, more than we ever had?”
I have twins and somedays I struggle, the Masche’s are amasing people, if people want to help them out then good for them!